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Life-Saving Cancer Screening You Should Know About

Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health, is at the forefront of innovation in cancer care, using advanced technology, testing, and treatments. Colorectal cancer, unlike other cancers, is preventable if detected early. However, only 63% of patients over age 50 had some form of screening like a colonoscopy or Cologuard testing. We are prepared and eager to beat those statistics in our community here at Phelps with our multidisciplinary and individualized approach.

Colon cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable.

Colon cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Don’t delay visiting your doctor if you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms.

Over the last decade, there has been an increased incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults. Because of this, it is critical to promptly assess symptoms associated with colorectal cancer. In particular, rectal bleeding and unexplained iron deficiency anemia should be thoroughly evaluated by your healthcare provider. Studies show that 8% of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer were younger than 50, and almost 25% of patients with rectal bleeding waited over one year to see their doctor.

Genetic testing can help your doctor better protect you.

Genetic tests can determine if certain family members have a higher risk of colorectal cancer due to inherited cancer syndromes. Colon cancer genetic testing indicates whether you carry rare or mutated genes that can cause colon cancer. Although most colon cancer patients don’t possess these particular mutated genes, having them increases your chance of developing colon cancer. There is a 16% prevalence of hereditary cancer syndromes among younger patients with colorectal cancer. At Phelps, we offer genetic testing for patients at risk, as indicated by family history or diagnosis of colorectal cancer.

Phelps offers a range of cancer treatment approaches to address individual patient needs.

Our treatment approach for colon and rectal cancer involves a multidisciplinary team that includes the surgeon, oncologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist, and pathologist. At Phelps, we work closely together to discuss the best treatment options for patients and develop an individualized treatment plan that is right for you. We use the most advanced therapies available to provide options that are less invasive and have fewer negative effects on your body.

What can I expect after I am diagnosed with colorectal cancer?

Most of the time, treatment starts with surgery. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is becoming more common due to the standardization of methods and techniques. MIS is appealing to both doctors and patients because it is associated with benefits such as less pain and quicker recovery time compared to traditional surgery. Over the past decade, treatment approaches for colon and rectal cancer have changed significantly and now emphasize early diagnosis, minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

For some patients in the early stages of colon cancer, we consider adjuvant chemotherapy, also known as short-course treatment. Adjuvant chemotherapy is typically given after primary treatment and lowers the risk that cancer will come back, which significantly improves survival rates. If colorectal cancer is detected early, we may be able to shorten the course of chemotherapy. Each patient is different, and some patients may require surgery after receiving adjuvant chemotherapy.

Stage 4 of colorectal cancer means that the tumor has spread to other organs. It is scary to face this, but colorectal cancer has a much better prognosis compared to other gastrointestinal malignances and can be cured in some circumstances. For some patients in advanced stages of colorectal cancer, we can use radio frequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive option that uses energy and heat to destroy cancer cells. RFA is a treatment option that is recommended if the patient is not a good candidate for surgery and can also be used to treat a variety of conditions.

Our oncologists are committed to providing a comprehensive overview of treatment options and alternatives to our patients, so you are comfortable with the support, care, and approach we provide. All colon and rectal cancer patient cases are reviewed at our multidisciplinary tumor board meeting, where we discuss best treatment practices and options, such as neoadjuvant therapy and other nonsurgical options before considering surgical procedures. Our goal is to preserve your quality of life and offer the best options for optimal recovery.

Other treatment options and support resources include:

  • Chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and biologic therapies
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Gastrointestinal genetics and genetic counseling
  • Minimally invasive and robotic surgery
  • Noninvasive virtual colonoscopy
  • Radiation therapy techniques
  • Support groups and services

At Phelps, you’ll find comprehensive and compassionate care for you and your loved ones.

Your oncologist will work with a dedicated team of specialists to help explain all of your treatment options and create a plan that caters to your specific medical, mental, and emotional needs and goals. If you or a loved one has cancer, contact the Cancer Institute at Phelps Hospital at (914) 366-1600 to learn more about our expert services, right here in Westchester.